Rangers Roundup: Alexis Lafreniere, Patrick Kane, and fighting takes a hit
The latest New York Rangers news looks in on Alexis Lafreniere, Patrick Kane, and the future of fighting in hockey.
Let’s check in on the latest buzz.
Rangers Roundup: Alexis Lafreniere honors Patrice Bergeron
Lafreniere, 21, recorded 16 goals and 39 points in 81 games this past season. There’s been very little news regarding a new contract, although most indications are pointing in that direction.
While we await Lafreniere to sign his next deal, the restricted free agent took part in a Pro-Am game with fellow Quebec natives.
The biggest ovation was reserved for Patrice Bergeron, who officially announced his retirement from the NHL after 19 brilliant seasons. He certainly left his mark on the game with a list of accomplishments that includes a Stanley Cup and a record six Selke Trophy awards.
Aside from what the Bruins captain did on the ice, his off-ice contributions meant even more to many players. Recently signed Rangers forward Alex Belzile had some kind words for Bergeron.
“Quebec and the entire National League are losing a lot,” Belzile said. “He was the perfect hockey player, both offensively and defensively. Whether in the world of hockey or as a human being in general, he was a role model.”
Kane, 34, picked up 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in his brief 19 game stint with the Rangers after the trade deadline. He added another 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 7 postseason contests but was obviously hampered by a nagging injury.
“I look at that series and if I had felt a little better I could’ve helped us win that series,” Kane said after the team’s first round exit to the Devils. “It’s disappointing.”
In June, Kane underwent hip surgery and is expected to be out until about January. There’ll be several teams that will make a play for his services and the Rangers no doubt are going to be one of them.
According to Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Kane really liked his experience with the Rangers and felt like he wasn’t able to give his best due to injury. That left him with a bit of an empty feeling and a desire to show fans on Broadway what he could do at 100%.
“Of course I would love to be back,” Kane said. “If I could feel better with this team and this opportunity, I’d love that chance. I know they have young guys to sign and other priorities, but it was an amazing experience for me.”
QMJHL bans fighting
The future of fighting in hockey took its first big blow when the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League put some heavy sanctions regarding the extracurricular activity.
Per the QMJHL Rules (Section 4):
Fights In order to prevent physical and psychological violence that may result in minor or serious injury or, in extreme circumstances, death, the QMJHL is responsible for establishing rules of intervention when a fight occurs between two or more people during a game, regardless of whether they are players or other team members (coach, assistant coach, trainer, etc.).
Rule 47 of the Playing Rules, starting with the 2023-2024 season, provides for fights being prohibited with more restrictive and dissuasive sanctions in order to emphasize a safe quality of play conducive to the development of players participating in QMJHL activities.
The QMJHL will ensure that the sanctions mentioned in the following paragraphs are applied.
As soon as a fight occurs, those engaged must be systematically ejected from the game.
Any player found to have instigated the fight will also receive an automatic one-game suspension. The person declared to be the aggressor during the fight will receive a minimum of two automatic games of suspension.
In addition to the game misconduct, an automatic game suspension is imposed starting with the player’s 2nd fight of the season. This suspension is in addition to the sanctions described in the preceding paragraphs.